What to do if your ESTA is not approved
The ESTA status ‘Travel Not Authorized’ indicates that the applicant has been deemed not eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This can be due to a number of reasons, such as entering incorrect biometric or passport information, or incorrectly answering one of the nine eligibility questions. In other cases, some applicants may deliberately enter incorrect information on the ESTA form, which is inconsistent with the records that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has regarding the traveler.
If your ESTA is ‘Travel Not Authorized’, yet you still wish to travel to the United States, you will need to apply for a visa through your local U.S. embassy website – https://www.usembassy.gov where you will find the necessary information to start your B2 tourism, B1 business, or mixed use B1/B2 visitor visa application.
If you are denied travel authorization, that does not usually mean you aren’t eligible for a United States visa, since the rejection mostly prohibits traveling under the Visa Waiver Program. Also note that no court can review your eligibility under ESTA if the travel authorization is not approved.
Is it possible to reapply?
Applicants that were denied an ESTA can reapply, especially if their denial was due to entering incorrect passport or biometric information. New applications can still be rejected, especially if an applicant’s other circumstances remain the same. When reapplying for an ESTA, avoid using any false details, as these may result in a permanent ban from being able to travel under the VWP in the future.
If ESTA applicants incorrectly entered information on any of their nine eligibility questions, they may need to submit a help request to CBP to review their applicant and remove the denial so that they can reapply with a clear record.
Is there a way to find out why an ESTA application was rejected?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a unique system that ensures your travel authorization application can only be rejected if you are a security threat, or aren’t allowed to travel under the Visa Waiver Program.
Most people try resolving their application rejection by going through the DHS Travel Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP), whose link is usually provided on the ESTA website. The only drawback of doing this is it doesn’t guarantee that your application will go through or that you will obtain a reason for your denied ESTA.
U.S. Consulates and Embassies are not in a position to disclose why ESTA denied some applicants. So, you can only know that you are eligible to travel to the United States if your application is approved. Otherwise, you may learn of possible ESTA ineligibilities or reasons for denial when applying for a non-immigrant visa.
What happens when a person wants to travel immediately but doesn’t have a valid travel authorization?
As part of a U.S. visa application, applicants will need to complete a DS-160 form and schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The DS-160 form takes approximately 60 minutes to complete. However, obtaining embassy appointment times varies based on the location of the embassy and the the time of year the appointment is to be scheduled. Next-day appointments are very difficult to schedule. Usually, a five to ten day waiting period is normal until the next available appointment time. If you want any crucial information, you can find it on the department’s site or the consular section. So, you should apply early enough for an ESTA approval if you are planning to travel for something vital to avoid any inconveniences. For up-to-date information on appointment scheduling times, visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html